Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Lady Sherlock #3
Publication Date: 10/2/18
# of Pages: 329
I am absolutely gobsmacked! Stunned! It has been a full day since I finished this book and my head is still swimming. This author has a way of delivering a fresh, interesting, exciting, absolutely stunner of a story every time. Yes, I was totally stumped right to the end – and that just doesn’t happen with me. I always figure out the villain early on in the book.
I am sure you could read this story and thoroughly enjoy it if you didn’t read the first two books in the series – A Study in Scarlet Women and A Conspiracy in Belgravia – but I highly recommend that you read them in order. The character originations and background begin in the first book and build from there. In A Study in Scarlet Women, we learned about Charlotte’s background and solved a triple murder. A Conspiracy in Belgravia starts the day after the first book ends and focuses on the search for Mr. Myron Finch and it also gives us more information on Moriarty. This book continues directly after the second book ends. Goodness that author can create some twisted tales.
The last line in book #2 was ‘Hello Brother’ and the first line in this book begins with ‘Hello Brother. Charlotte is greeting her illegitimate half-brother Myron Finch who has been hiding right under their noses all this time. He is Mott, the Holmes’ coachman. He explains to Charlotte why he has been hiding and from whom. He explains that he has stolen something from Moriarty and tells her what it is and why it is important. Just as Charlotte is about to leave, Stephen Marbleton arrives – and they realize that they are being watched and that the watchers are closing in on them. They quickly devise an escape plan and all, except Charlotte, manage to totally escape. However, Charlotte isn’t the one that is being sought, so they let her go.
A few months later, Charlotte and Mrs. Holmes are at a small cottage in the country. The fact that they are near Stern Hollow, Lord Ingram’s country seat, is totally coincidental. Charlotte is there so she can freely visit with her sister Livia who is attending a house party at her father’s cousin’s (Mrs. Newell) home – she has another reason for being there that also has nothing to do with Lord Ingram, but I won’t tell you about that one.
Because she is a fallen woman, Charlotte cannot openly contact Livia. Charlotte doesn’t let that stop her though. She and Mrs. Holmes have created a disguise. Charlotte will become the brother of Sherlock Holmes – Sherrinford Holmes. She has studied moving like a man and has practiced lowering her voice, so she’s ready for her role. Then – disaster – a boiler at Mrs. Newell’s home ruptures and floods the house – effectively ending the house party. However, many of the guests get moved to a neighboring estate – Lord Ingram’s – for a couple of days until they can all make arrangements for their trip home.
Speaking of disasters – not too long after his home is filled with guests – the body of Lady Ingram is discovered in his ice house. The local constabulary is sent for and they promptly request help from Scotland Yard. Inspector Treadles is chosen to accompany Chief Inspector Fowler on the case. Fowler is bent on making a name for himself and he fully intends to put the blame solely on Lord Ingram and sadly, it looks as if the evidence will support him in doing that. It appears that it will be up to Sherinford Holmes to solve the crime and save Lord Ingram. Inspector Treadles doesn’t want to believe that his old friend is guilty, but he has to do his job. What he can do, however, is keep the identity of Sherinford Holmes a secret and hope that he really can save Lord Ingram. Is that even really Lord Ingram’s wife that they found?
I hope I’ve given you enough to whet your appetite because I don’t want to go further and tell you all the secrets. Just know that it is a wonderfully exciting read with an ending that you absolutely won’t believe.
I was also happy to note that Inspector Treadles finally had his grand epiphany and realized that it was okay for Charlotte to be smart and for him to ask for her assistance and that it was also okay for his wife to want more than just being a wife. He realized she could do both and they could still love each other. I loved that part.
Another thing I loved was the development with Bernadette. I won’t tell you that either, but I love it.
Now – I have to wait and wait and wait, very impatiently for the next book where I hope to see not only another wonderful mystery but some growth in the relationship between Lord Ingram and Charlotte.
I highly recommend this incredibly complex and stimulating read.